Berkeley Food and Housing Project

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Berkeley Food and Housing Project is a nonprofit organization serving homeless men, women, and children in Berkeley, California. The agency manages four sites: North County Women's Center, Men's Overnight Shelter, Russell Street Residence, and the Multi-Service Center.[1] BFHP is one of the largest homeless service providers in the East Bay.[2]


History[edit]

The current Berkeley Food and Housing Project evolved from a small group of local churches providing emergency meal service to the transient youths who flooded the area during the Summer of Love in 1969. Initially, First Baptist Church of Berkeley under the leadership of Dr. Raymond P. Jennings began offering a meal service based out of their basement. University Lutheran Chapel and other local churches soon formed a partnership with First Baptist.[3] In 1972, the meal service was renamed the Berkeley Emergency Lifeline. In 1984, the program was composed of several shelters operating out of Berkeley churches.[4] In 1986, the programs were consolidated into a secular, incorporated organization called Berkeley Emergency Food Project. The City of Berkeley arranged to convert the basement of the downtown Veteran's Building into the Men's Overnight Shelter. In 1991 a women's shelter was founded at a building on Dwight Way, and in 1996 the Multi-Service Center opened on the ground floor of Trinity United Methodist Church. The fourth location, called Russell Street Residence, opened in 2002 as a California state-licensed board and care facility serving 17 men and women who were once homeless and are diagnosed with a mental disability.[5]

Services[edit]

Most case management services are based out of the Multi-Service Center. Case managers assist individuals with housing searches and provide emergency assistance. The Center also works with EveryOne Home (Alameda County) [6] to distribute funds from the federally funded Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP).[7] In addition, the 41-year-old Quarter Meal service is based out of the Multi-Service Center. The meal, which used to cost a quarter and is now served free of charge, feeds 100 homeless and low-income individuals a day.[8]

Mural depicting the Quarter Meal service, located in the Multi-Service Center

In 2010 Berkeley Food and Housing Project served 18,615 meals at Russell Street Residence, 37,880 at the Men’s Overnight Shelter and Veterans Program, and 36,135 meals at North County Women’s Center. In addition, 11,000 free community meals were served at the Women’s Center and 36,000 meals were provided at the Multi Service Center.

The Men's Overnight Shelter can shelter up to 50 men per night, while the Women's Overnight Shelter provides 32 beds to women and children.

The Women's Resource Center provides meal service, financial planning assistance, employment counseling, and access to health care providers. In addition, the upstairs floors contain the Independent and Transitional House programs, which provide communal living facilities to women and families transitioning into permanent housing.[9]

References[edit]

External links[edit]